Chapter 28 - Same Boat, Different Decks
In a recent meeting, an SHHS leader wisely observed: "This crisis is impacting each of us differently. It's like we're in the same storm, but in different boats."
The moderator reflected, nodded, voiced agreement with the sentiment, then offered an alternative framing: "Perhaps we are all in the same boat, but on different decks. Some people are standing where water is already coming overboard; others remain dry for now. It may feel like the plight of those closest to drowning have nothing to do with us. But it does. Their fate is ours."
This poignant insight (which came from John Ott of the Center for Collective Wisdom) holds true, both in this crisis and in our Division's daily work. It is true in the global sense—the inequities we resist by serving families are the same inequities threatening us all. It is also true in a more direct and immediate sense—the people we uplift in our work are then empowered to uplift others, who uplift others, and soon we are all elevated to greater love and well-being.
Today's reflection provides a heart-warming illustration of this. Justin Cole, Specialized Student Populations Counselor at Diego Rivera and Edison Middle School, identifies the powers in his personal life giving him strength right now. At one point, he describes things he has said to comfort his two young daughters—then, in the very next sentence, he shares things his daughter has said to comfort him. I see this as more than mere coincidence. By empowering his daughters, he was also giving them the strength to lift him up, too, and everyone rose up higher, together. One fate. One boat. Just different decks.
Thank you, Justin, for this reflection. Without further ado...
During these past weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time praying and trying to remain strong for my family by focusing on healthy and positive thoughts. I have found it helpful to minimize the amount of news coverage I watch each day both on television and my phone. Instead I go for short walks, work on a project, play a board game with my kids or help them with their homework packets. My kids are 8 and 4 years old, they don’t really understand what’s going on. They miss their teachers and friends at school. I tell them it won’t be long, we are just waiting for the ok for you guys to go back. My 4 year old keeps me focused; when she catches me with my head down or staring off into space, she’ll come over and clap her hands in my ear and say, “Daddy don’t worry, we’re going to be ok.” 😊
Although we are going through this challenging and unprecedented time of uncertainty, I still feel grateful. I’m grateful for a reasonable portion of health and strength, I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for my friends and work colleagues uplifting and encouraging one another through phone calls, emails, text messaging and zoom meetings which definitely helped me a lot. One observation I’ve made during this current school closure is that even though we are separated, I feel like this event has and will continue to bring us closer together. I think the most important thing is for us to have unwavering faith and hope for a brighter, healthier future.
Pia and Justin
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